Arriving in Texas at age 3, Melisa Simon, now 18-years-old received her two-year associates degree before she graduated W.W. Samuell High School in June.
This coming Fall, through the Tech Teach program at Texas Tech University, she’ll have her bachelors and teaching certification, at age 19.
Thanks to Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Simon can enroll in the program.
Jennifer Tecklenburg is the principal at Samuell High, but oversaw the early college program when Simon was enrolled.
“They do six years of school in four years. That’s pretty impressive for a 17-, 18-year-old student,” Tecklenburg said. “If the students can be as motivated as her and complete the associate’s degree, the world is open to them.”
Simon will be teaching elementary kids in the fall in a Pleasant Grove neighborhood where she grew up.
“I can relate to many of those students and the way that they’re growing up,” Simon said.
Simon is bilingual which is something the districts say they desperately need in their teachers. More than that, Tecklenburg says, she’s one of the best and brightest.
“She’s going to be incredible. She’s going to have a great rapport with her students,” Tecklenburg said. “She’s absolutely mature enough and has a hard enough work ethic.”
Simon will co-teach for the 2016-17 school year. She will complete her work for Tech Teach at Eastfield College in the Dallas County Community College District.